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Death In Vegas
Death In Vegas

Death In Vegas: The Contino Sessions

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Death In Vegas,
"Aladdin's Story"

Death In Vegas at a glance...

Hometown: London, England
Formed: 1993

Richard Fearless -keyboards, programming
Tim Holmes -keyboards, programming

Bands In The Family:
The Chemical Brothers, Iggy Pop, Primal Scream, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Dot Allison, Ranking Roger, Monkey Mafia, Andrew Weatherall/Two Lone Swordsmen

Richard Fearless started out as the resident DJ at the famous Heavenly Social club in London, the same place where The Chemical Brothers built their following. On the side, Fearless sought to make something slightly different than the music he was spinning and looked to Steve Hellier, an engineer at the BBC, to collaborate on new ideas. Bringing in a full band, while still relying on vinyl for various samples and sounds, Fearless and Hellier began to make singles with a rock feel and dark mood that were embraced by club-goers. The singles soon became an album, and Dead Elvis, a multi-textured mix of trip-hop, rock, and reggae, was released in 1997. The press raved about the album, but video outlets in Europe banned the video for the breakthrough single "Dirt" on account of its lewd yet highly stylized images. Following a world tour with The Chemical Brothers, Fearless began to make inroads into the film and graphic art worlds, while taking on production of Dot Allison's first few recorded tracks. Hellier departed in 1998, making way for Tim Holmes to join Fearless and several guest collaborators in the making of 1999's The Contino Sessions. The title of the record refers to Fearless' private studio, The Contino Rooms. Despite a relatively underground following, The Contino Sessions debuted in the top twenty in the UK album charts.
Death In Vegas

Death In Vegas
The Contino Sessions
Concrete/Time Bomb, Released 1999
Death In Vegas

Like their peers Primal Scream and Chemical Brothers, Death in Vegas have no qualms about the retro-rock roots of their electronic music. So it's no surprise to learn that mainman Richard Fearless' all-time favorite band is The Stooges and it makes perfect sense that track five, the harrowing psycho-killer study called "Aisha," features none other than Iggy Pop intoning the dark lyrics. Elsewhere, Bobby (Primal Scream) Gillespie puts on his best Dylan/Lou Reed drawl for a "Soul Auctioneer" - a "Subterranean Homesick Blues" for the new millennium. Completing the Velvets-flavored trilogy is feedback-drenched "Broken Little Sister" starring Jim (Jesus & Mary Chain) Reid on vocals.

Not that Death In Vegas should be judged purely by their guests (though you must admit the list is remarkable) because even without the lyrical concepts, their largely instrumental material more than holds its own. There is the psychedelic pop of "Neptune City," the bluesy plastic soul of "Aladdin's Story" (highly reminiscent of late-'60s Stones), the dreamy atmospherics of "Flying" and the delicate beauty of "Dirge" featuring ex-One Dove thrush Dot Allison, to prove conclusively that Death in Vegas are more than Velvets-meets-Can one-trick ponies. Neither modern rock nor dance, Death in Vegas straddle the middle ground - and prove that it's an extremely good place to be.

If you like Death In Vegas, check out:
Death In Vegas Dead Elvis
Primal Scream Vanishing Point
Apollo 440 Electro Glide in Blue
The Stooges Fun House
The Jesus and Mary Chain Psycho Candy
Death In Vegas

-- km

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